Technology has allowed humans to communicate instantly, no matter where we are on Earth. New tools have turned the voyage of a written letter from England to Australia into the click of a button. But ever-evolving tech hasn’t just changed the way we send communications; it’s also changed the way we write them.
As if the instant transmission of a message wasn’t enough, we’ve also taken to abbreviating our communications to make them easier and faster to read. Of course, linguistic purists have a lot to say about this apparent act of blasphemy, but it has certainly revolutionised the world of social media, email, and advertising.
Much like acronyms, abbreviating words makes it easier for customers to scan through a text and get the message quickly. It also adds a friendly, informal, and even comical edge when communicating with your target audience.
Check out the top ten most-used text abbreviations below, and use them—sparingly—to pepper your B2C communications. Your audience will appreciate their fun-to-read nature and laid-back tone.
1. THX: THANKS
This abbreviation appears all over social media and personal text messages. It doesn’t cut out many characters, but it still saves time. Your customers will be extremely familiar with this abbreviation, so much so that their autocorrect probably forces them to type it at this point. Use this one at the end of casual social media posts to thank your audience for their attention, or as a reply to compliments that your posts receive in the comments.
2. TBH: TO BE HONEST
A simple way to display transparency and openness when sharing an opinion. The level of informality will also add a lighthearted tone to your communications and most likely make some readers chuckle. You can also use TBH following a small blunder to make fun of the situation. Did you send out an email by mistake? Use TBH. Perhaps your website went down the other day, and you want to inform your customers. Use TBH.
3. YOLO: YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE
Sometimes, we drift through life as though we’ll have a second shot at some point. YOLO serves as a swift and abbreviated reminder that we don’t! Much like “carpe diem”, YOLO urges people to make the most of the present moment. The abbreviation makes a powerful gesture during social media advertising campaigns, especially in captions or on flyers. YOLO will urge your audience to make the most of the deal you’re offering. They might not get another chance!
4. IRL: IN REAL LIFE
We can’t deny that we spend a significant amount of our lives immersed in a virtual world: a dimension of memes, GIFS, message boards, and direct messages. When reading stuff online, customers might automatically assume we’re referring to this cyber universe. Drop IRL into an email or post when referring to happenings in the real world. IRL also makes a lighthearted joke out of the amount of time we spend online. Use the abbreviation when referring to events, meet-ups, and physical store locations.
5. IMO: IN MY OPINION
IMO becomes the abbreviation of choice when communicating your point of view on a subject. It comes especially in handy when you’re writing up informal product reviews or opinion pieces for your blog.
6. FWIW: FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH
FWIW offers another informal way to share an opinion, but this time as more of a side note instead of being the main subject of a message or post. Use FWIW to add a minor point at the end of a product description, or as a lighthearted way to close out an email or social media post.
7. DM: DIRECT MESSAGE
Direct messaging helps businesses stay in contact with their customers. It also allows their followers to reach out to them with questions about products. Facebook values direct messaging so much that it will even let customers know how long it usually takes you to reply. Let your followers know that they should feel free to slide into your DMs whenever they have a query.
8. BTW: BY THE WAY
BTW announces that you’re about to communicate something away from the main topic of the post or message, kind of like a side comment. You can slap BTW into your text anywhere an adverb would usually go. Use it at the end of informal emails or Instagram posts to plug a product or add in an additional but less important piece of information.
9. B4N: BYE FOR NOW
You’ll most often see B4N when messaging your friends. Perhaps they just got to a meeting or are about to go to bed. Seems personal, right? Use it when trying to muster a friendly, informal, and extremely casual tone with your audience. Place B4N at the end of newsletters or updates about new products or offers.
10. TTYL: TALK TO YOU LATER
Another friendly and laid-back way to sign off. TTYL tells your audience that the conversation isn’t over; that you’ll be back to inform them of offers and products again soon. You can also use TTYL in your DM communications to leave the conversation open and let followers know you’re ready to hear more of their questions and feedback.
These 10 abbreviations just skim the surface of an entire world of helpful digital slang: Make communications more streamlined, gain a friendly reputation, and keep things modern for your B2C brand with even more appropriate abbreviations. B4N!